Pain Relief through Shared Reading

A Californian study has suggested that a trip to an art gallery can provide pain relief. The Reader’s Kate McDonnell, who leads a Shared Reading group for people living with chronic pain, understands why.

Continue reading “Pain Relief through Shared Reading”

Introducing our Oxford World’s Classics library

chronic-pain-group-oup

To celebrate our new partnership with Oxford University Press we have a Reader Story from a group enjoying one of our new Oxford World’s Classics.

Continue reading “Introducing our Oxford World’s Classics library”

Introducing our Oxford World’s Classics library

chronic-pain-group-oup

To celebrate our new partnership with Oxford University Press we have a Reader Story from a group enjoying one of our new Oxford World’s Classics.

Continue reading “Introducing our Oxford World’s Classics library”

People with lives: Combating chronic pain through Shared Reading

P1000189

Can you combat chronic pain through Shared Reading? Kate, who runs the chronic pain reading group at Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool tells us how it can be as effective as traditional therapies.

Continue reading “People with lives: Combating chronic pain through Shared Reading”

An Evaluation of a Literature Based Intervention for People with Chronic Pain

chronic pain study 1 72dpiThe latest research into the effects shared reading is having as a non-medical, literature based intervention into health conditions has been published by The Reader Organisation and research partners.

The study, carried out by a partnership between the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at University of Liverpool and The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen NHS Hospital Trust, investigates the impact of shared reading for people living with chronic pain when delivered in a clinical setting. As part of the research, The Reader Organisation held a regular shared reading group at Broadgreen Hospital for patients with chronic pain who had been recruited from pain clinics around the Trust.

Intital results from the study, which was examined in a seminar at last year’s National Conference, have proved to show positive impacts in the relationship between shared reading, alleviation of pain symptoms and improved psychological wellbeing, with factors such as absorbed concentration upon the literature, a sense of community, comradeship and social connections being established and an enhanced quality of life all emerging for patients taking part in the group. The study follows previous research from CRILS which focused upon shared reading in relation to mental health conditions and is the first time data has been collected on physical health and a literature-based intervention.

People living with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms such as mood or anxiety disorders, and in turn depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain. One of the contributing researchers, Dr Andrew Jones from Broadgreen Hospital, commented that the study gave a positive indication for patients with chronic pain:

“Early indications are showing that the reading group is making a difference to people in our hospital. But there is something intangible, a deeper impact beyond that, which we can’t measure using existing qualitative research methods. While there is already evidence of the mental health benefits of shared reading, little is known about the benefits for physical health, but the link between chronic pain and psychiatric symptoms indicate it could help.”

The study contains several first-hand accounts from patients who took part, talking about their experiences of attending the group:

“It’s my little island…a safe haven…it’s very informal and comfortable”

“I don’t have pain when we are discussing or reading the story…the whole thing is read out and I don’t have any pain.”

“I’ve really, really got to concentrate…and that’s what it makes me do. It makes me concentrate and listen.”

Though more research is needed into exploring the relationship between chronic pain, reduced symptoms and a shared reading intervention, this initial study gives positive indication that further work can be established and could be extended to dialysis wards and other areas of physical health at Broadgreen and the Royal Hospitals. The shared reading group set up for the study at Broadgreen proved so popular that The Reader Organisation has been commissioned to run sessions there for the next three years.

‘An Evaluation of a Literature Based Intervention for People with Chronic Pain’ is now available to download on our website, where more can be found out about our research projects with CRILS: http://www.thereader.org.uk/what-we-do-and-why/research

CRILS will be at Better with a Book, The Reader Organisation’s National Conference 2014, examining footage of shared reading groups in action as part of their AHRC funded research project on the cultural value of shared reading as opposed to other cultural activities. Places are still available for you to hear more about the relationship between literature, shared reading and its effects on individuals, communities and organisations at The British Library Conference Centre on Thursday 15th May: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/conference

Get Into Reading grows in Liverpool

Great news for growing the Reading Revolution at our base in Liverpool The Reader Organisation has recently received two successful bids for our work in the area, which will enable us to keep connecting people through great literature and reach even more people across the city.

Bev reads with her groupThe Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust have commissioned The Reader Organisation for a three year project running shared reading groups in chronic pain settings across the trust. We already a deliver a group for people living with chronic pain at Broadgreen Hospital, started as part of a research project by the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) investigating the effects shared reading may have upon the condition. Though the research period has come to an end (with the report expected soon), the members’ benefits have ensured that the group is continuing. The impact of the chronic pain group was highlighted at this year’s Reader Organisation National Conference:

“I used to be crying at night sometimes …but now it’s given me a lift, I feel better and I can use the time better… to read instead.” – member of chronic pain group, Broadgreen Hospital

This new commission from The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust enables more shared reading groups to be set up in the area of chronic pain, as well as potentially expanding into dialysis wards and other areas of physical health.

We have also received funding from Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to continue our delivery of Get Into Reading across Liverpool until March 2014. This means that we can continue to build upon the 70+ groups currently running in a variety of settings across Liverpool, giving more people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to encounter the social, often powerful experience of shared reading:

“This group has been a lifeline for me. I escape everyday pressures for a few hours every week and I’d be lost without it.” – Peter, Get Into Reading member at Toxteth Library
Find out more about our shared reading projects in Liverpool and the North West by visiting the Where We Work section of our website.